Can’t Forget

Date Submitted: 08/29/2002
Author Info: Mike (Lansing, MI - USA) 
Occupation: Customer Service/Support
Lived in NY on 9.11.01?: No
Knew someone who perished?: No

I wish people would remember but not publicize the one year anniversary coming up. It brings back sad and angry feelings.

My co-workers and I first heard the news over the radio. I went out of our area to see if the TV was on. The TV – usually reserved for CEO broadcasts – was turned on to the story about the planes hitting the towers. There was just a sudden silence over the whole work place. We went about with our jobs, but it was like things were at a standstill.

Since we worked in the dock area, my boss overreacted and ordered the gates closed with concerns about what was going to be shipped in. I told him he was overreacting, but he mentioned that our work site was near an armory and Lansing was one of a few labs producing Anthrax.

I didn’t argue with him, but continued to watch the TV. I felt so helpless, and saddened to see coverage of people jumping out of the windows; I think the image of people clinging to the windows, or jumping out, is the worst and will be something I’ll never forget.

The stations broadcast the images and replayed the attacks over and over and over again. When we got home from work, my wife and I immediately filled up our cars with gases, because as anticipated, gas prices started to immediately rise. It’s sickening how the oil companies used the tragedy to try to increase their profits. We also went to the store to stock up on canned goods and water, but we didn’t overreact either; who knew what would happen.

I think, in addition to feeling numb with sadness, I felt hostility and anger toward Arab-Americans. I knew that it was wrong to label them all as terrorists, but I remember thinking that any one of them could be a spy or some type of terrorist, and that the attacks were probably just the first step.

Then I started to hear the news of people acting bad towards Arab-Americans and anyone wearing a turban. I realized that as Americans we could not start viewing everyone and anyone with suspicion just because of the way they looked, or else the terrorists would eventually win.

The next day, I tried to volunteer to donate blood, but there were three-hour waiting lines just to donate. I could not wait due to work, as life goes on and I had my daily routine. It turns out that most of the donations were useless, as there were hardly any survivors – just hundreds and hundreds of body parts. So I suggested at work that we use our call centers to help with the overwhelming call volume of people wanting to contribute cash, blood, etc. The idea fell on deaf ears. So much for corporate help.

I remember feeling a lot of pride in our government and President George Bush. It took a lot of restraint on his part to restrain from sending our troops over to ‘bomb’ the Middle East. I’m sure most of us were feeling hatred towards the Middle East and wanted nothing more than to bomb Egypt, Palestine, Iraq, Iran, etc. I sure felt that way. So, I felt pride in our administration maintaining its level-head approach. They continue to follow this cautious and wise approach as of 8/29/02.

I’m writing this as the one year anniversary is coming up. For those who read this in the future and ask why we didn’t just send our troops overseas or “bomb” the Middle East, my reply is that we’re not a terrorist nation. We’re not cowards where we indiscriminately bomb our enemies. We carry out covert acts, but for the most part we have the courage to be cautious but open in what we intend to do. Terrorists are a different breed of enemy, particularly because at this point we don’t know who actually carried out the attacks, which country is actually responsible, etc. It’s not like Pearl Harbor with an identifiable enemy and face. So the only other option is to declare war on countries we only suspect of harboring terrorists; this isn’t an option because again, we’re not a nation that indiscriminately attacks countries based upon little else than their religious/national culture.

People today are still resentful towards the Middle East, and with good reason. They continue to pursue violence, and they appear ungrateful for our assistance when we’ve been there in time of need. President Bush is really in a tough situation, and no one at this point really knows what the future holds. We’re nervous in anticipation of what may happen on 9/11 coming up. Frankly, I’m surprised there haven’t been more terrorist attacks at this point…


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